On Wednesday Disney announced its new Disney Genie service, an aspect of the app based systems at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World that are designed to make vacationing at the theme parks easier. However, one element of the new announcement that was met with some very loud opinions from fans was that some of the Disney Genie service, will not be free and that includes what will be replacing the old FastPass system at both theme parks.
While FastPass worked a little differently at both Disneyland and Disney World, the system was free at both parks (though Disneyland had a paid upgrade called MaxPass). Now, there will be no free option that will allow guests to skip lines. There will either be the choice of getting in the normal standby queue (or getting a Boarding Group for a Virtual Queue) or using the paid options. Disney vacations are already expensive propositions, and so, as you can imagine, a lot of people are crying foul that now Disney has found just one more way to squeeze money out of guests.
While people may be used to spending money at Disneyland or Disney World, nobody wants to see prices increase, and paying for something now that was once free certainly rubs many people the wrong way. To get the same experience you once had under the FastPass system, you'll now need to spend money that you didn't have to spend before. This is on top of every other price increase the parks have seen in recent years.
Normal ticket prices have gone up nearly every ear. Special ticketed after hours events are more expensive than they used to be, while offering less than they once did due to the still ongoing pandemic. There's a feeling among many that Disney is actively discouraging anybody but the rich from visiting the parks.
There are certainly valid reasons to be upset by this change. Traditionalists lament the ever increasing prices because there's a feeling that Walt Disney would not have accepted changes that potentially priced people out of visiting the parks. While there's no way to know if that's true, there are a lot of people that feel that way. Or at least a lot of people who will use that as the premise for a good meme.
The new Genie+ and Lightning Lane offerings, which offer slightly different ways to jump the queue depending on the attraction, are set to go live sometime this fall. FastPass has been dead at the parks since they each reopened following their lockdown closures. Since then the parks have operated with normal standby lines only, except for those few rides that used the app-based Virtual Queues. there are certainly some who would have been happy if nothing had ever replaced the FastPass system.
However, while there is certainly a vocal side of Twitter upset about the new upcharges, there are others who are actually, at the very least, cautiously optimistic of the new offerings. There's a feeling from a lot of fans that FastPass, especially FastPass+ at Walt Disney World, was a broken system that made standby lines longer than they needed to be, thus necessitating FastPass in the first place. By charging for the service now, fewer people will use it, by design, and in doing so normal standby line waits will improve so there won't be a need to spend the money to use the system.
The new system also removes the previous Disney World requirement to book your FastPasses 30 or 60 days in advance, depending on whether or not you were staying on Disney property, which should allow guests to be more flexible with their time. That's very appealing to a lot of people as well.
In short, if Genie+ and Lightning Lanes work better than FastPass, then it will be worth the money to spend it, and possibly also better for those that don't spend the money. That's certainly a win-win. At the end of the day, people want to have a fun time at Disney, and if this is what it takes to make that fun easier to have, some people at least are ok with it.
That assumes of course, that it all works as advertised. We won't know that for sure until the Disney Genie launches, which is set for an as yet unknown date at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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